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Soong to announce running mate Tuesday

2011/09/19 23:19:20

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Opposition People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong is expected to unveil his running mate Tuesday, ending days of speculation, a PFP spokesman said Monday.

PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu said Soong will announce his running mate at 9:30 a.m., before he registers to become a presidential candidate via a public endorsement campaign at the Central Election Commission.

Soong will briefly explain the considerations for choosing his partner and the two will go to the CEC together.

PFP sources said Soong has vetted several people for the role. The possibility of his choice going to Chang Chao-hsiung, a cardiovascular surgeon-turned-PFP vice chairman, still exists.

Soong and Chang formed a ticket to run in the 2000 presidential election. The election was won by the Democratic Progressive Party with 39.3 percent of the popular vote -- a plurality that defeated a divided pan-blue camp.

Then Soong-Chang ticket won 36.8 percent of the vote, with KMT's Lien Chan-Vincent Siew trailing far behind with 23.1 percent.

The PFP is a splinter party of the now ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

Earlier in the day, President Ma Ying-jeou made a final plea for the PFP to come back into his coalition, saying the the KMT and the PFP come from the same family. Ma said he is willing to solicit advice from Soong to promote another pan-blue coalition.

Wu responded that the offer comes too late.

"How can you say the word 'I love you!' when another is getting ready to marry?" he quipped.

Soong had said previously that he would use the signature collection drive to gauge the will of the public, and if he garners an endorsement of one million signatures, his chance of winning would be greatly boosted.

Thomas Lee, another PFP spokesman, said Sunday that Soong vetted more than five people, but since a lot of groups and media outlets are openly hostile to his party, the potential candidates have faced a lot of pressure.

Therefore, the PFP will not release its vice-presidential shortlist.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Lee Ming-tsung and Lilian Wu)